Off-Roading With God-The Story Begins

Hey, y’all, I’ve begun a new page on my website, in which I intend to share the story of my life. It chronicles the “adventures” I have experienced and ultimately tells about the God who knew and loved me before I was born.

Many times we are led to believe that being a Christian–that being known by God–means we will never experience difficulties in our lives. One could only wish that were true. But the real truth is that Jesus told us we’d have difficulties, some of which would be very bad. He also told us that He would never leave us. That’s the real truth. It’s why I can tell my story. Because through all the bad that happened, God was always there. I might not have known that at the time, but I came to understand the truth of it as I learned more about Him. It’s not an easy story to tell, but if my story helps even one individual relate, if it helps even one individual know they are not alone and that God is there and knows and cares and …

Anyway, go here, and let the story begin!

The Enemy is a Liar

On several occasions I have noted that God sends the same focused message out to many pulpits and classrooms. I love it when He does that! They are timely for us; they were planned by Him. 

Our church has lately gotten back to Sunday school and we are slowly working our way back from 2020. As one of the adult class teachers, I had considered the several study options available, but one kept rising to the top, a study on the lies of the enemy (“The Truth about Lies,” by Tim Chaddick). Not totally convinced about it, I took a few days to pray and consider. During that time, I traveled to Pennsylvania to visit with our son’s family, giving me plenty of car quiet time to think. At one point I grew tired of the silence and dialed into a Christian station. The first song I heard was “Truth Be Told,” by Matthew West. Following right behind that was “If We’re Honest,” by Francesca Batistelli. Hmm. After hearing those songs and having my creative juices begin flowing, I felt confirmation that the study about lies of the enemy was what I would go with. 

Just yesterday, I grabbed my phone to play some music on the way to church. My phone has car mode, and based on my past song lists, it picks music for me, so I’m not messing with buttons while I drive. The first song it played was “Fear is a Liar,” by Zach Williams. This song is not in any of my playlists–it was just a random song Amazon picked based on my music interests. Just further confirmation for me that our current Sunday school study was on track, and relevant for the times. Then, during morning worship–with no knowledge of the subject being taught in the adult class–our pastor brought a message titled, “Fear is a Liar” (Numbers 13-14). And for the final song of the service, he played the song “FEAR IS A LIAR”…! 

Fear causes us to question the promises and goodness of God. It is one of the enemy’s greatest lies and a weapon he uses to keep us from experiencing the blessings of God.

I know a lot of people don’t feel that God works in this manner. That’s okay. I honestly believe that the Holy Spirit worked through these means to confirm my prayer about what to teach. Someone needs to be reminded that we need not fear a defeated enemy. Someone needs to be reminded that the world is full of lies and liars and that we must be aware. Someone needs to be reminded that God will always tell the truth and is always trustworthy. He has not changed His mind about what His word tells us, and anything that deviates from that is not truthful. 

1 Peter 5:8-11 – Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. So resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brothers and sisters who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.  To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Y’all, the world will try to tell you that what you “want” is what you should have. Check it out with God first. If He has a word to say about it, trust that. Do not let the fear that the world will scoff at you or mock you for following God keep you from overthrowing the lies of the enemy in your life. 

Use Your “Inside” Voice

I recently subscribed to a program designed to help improve my writing skills. It checks grammar, punctuation, and voice, among other aspects. I dropped an article into the program and implemented all the changes it suggested. After completing that process and re-reading the article, I discarded the corrected post, because it left me with a bad taste in my mouth and little else. I could not find one ounce of “me” in that sterile, perfectly worded document.

I discarded the program, too, and here’s why: while I understand that it’s a good thing to have my spelling and punctuation proofed, I strongly resist the attempt to change my writing voice.

Every writer has their particular style. I write to touch people and encourage them. Rough and raw it may be, but if you get what I’m saying from the emotion poured into my words, then it was for your benefit. Praise God! If I use a writing program that removes all of “me,” I may have a technically correct essay, but will it speak to my targeted audience?

My ultimate goal in writing is this: I want folks to know they aren’t alone, that someone is going through the same situation, and mostly I want them to know that God is smack dab in the middle of the fray, and He’s on our side. (the writing program wouldn’t like “smack dab.” *wink*)

Have a good day, my friends.

Sunday’s Coming

As it may be for many Christians, Holy Week is my time to focus on Jesus’ sacrifice. I spend this week listening to my favorite musicians sing of the wonder of that glorious morning and reading again the Scripture accounts.

In my day, the music of Dallas Holm, Sandi Patty, and Don Francisco filled our home during Holy Week. If you’ve never listened to Dallas’ cd, His Last Days, your soul will thank you for doing so. I pondered the questions posed by Jesus to His disciples, “Do you believe in Me, and in the words I say?” Good questions. I mourned the torture Jesus endured; and I grieved His death. Dallas’ cd ended with Rise Again (seriously, listen to this cd!), and grief dissipated as I celebrated the joy of what was coming early Sunday morning.

Though the actual events occurred two thousand years ago, each Easter I observe them anew. It is a ritual observed to remain focused on Jesus and what He did for me. As is my habit, I bound out of bed and watch the sunrise. Our children now have their own families, and I don’t know how they celebrate the resurrection. Our immediate household will once again celebrate Easter Sunday morning with our old favorites, like this one from Sandi Patty.

How about you? How do you celebrate the week between Palm Sunday and Resurrection morning? Sunday’s coming.

Shout it in the streets… He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Hallelujah.

What’s Inside of You?

In a church that Dave pastored, one deacon was a kindly older gentleman. He was always respectful in his conversation, and he supported Dave’s ministry at the church. I don’t recall ever hearing him speak an unfriendly word, even in our sometimes loud and vocal business meetings.

I became friends with this man’s daughter. We had lunch, went to conferences, shopped together–the things friends do. One day, over lunch, I mentioned how much I admired her father and how kind he was to our family. What happened next sent shock waves through me.

My friend’s face melted.

I watched as her face went from happy and smiling, to a total meltdown of grief, anger, and tears. Not sure why what I said had caused such a reaction, I kept silent and give her time to compose herself.

“If you really knew my father,” she bit out, “you wouldn’t say that. My father is the most cruel, vile, ungodly man I have ever known.”

Wait, now, what?

As I sat in shock, staring wide-eyed at her, she continued, “He treats my mother like garbage, constantly belittling her, storming past her when he comes in the house without the first word. More than once he’s thrown his dinner plate across the room because something on it didn’t sit right with him. He is an angry, angry man, and I almost hate him. And he treats me with the same contempt, as if he’s angry at my existence.”

I apologized–for what she was feeling, for not knowing, for her mother’s pain. Lifting her hand to silence me, she reminded me I was not the one who had caused all the pain, and I did not need to apologize, that she just wanted me to know that what I saw was not real–that her father was not the man inside that he showed the world.

I learned two lessons from that encounter.

First, I learned we don’t know the heart of a person. This man who had made such a positive impression on me was not at all the man he portrayed. I don’t know what had caused his angry responses to life, but the people who were the closest to him saw a hypocrite—a man who was evil in one setting and fake in another.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Does God see the same person the world sees? Do the people who should receive the best of you get shorted, while those on the periphery get a fraud who is trying to keep them from knowing who you really are? While I understand that the root of bitterness can grow in our hearts because of misdeeds against us, we should deal with life responses according to God’s Word and not based on how others treat you. The temptation to hurt others because others hurt you is great, BUT GOD… He is bigger than all hurts, bigger than our personality bent, and bigger than any reason we have to behave ungodly. Do you have unresolved anger and bitterness? I’m so sorry for your pain. Please call someone today who can help you give that over to God and allow Him to begin the healing process.

I also learned that we don’t know the pain in the soul of a person. As Christians, we should be ready at all times to offer comfort when we learn of another person’s hurt. Eventually, I got around to saying the right words–I’m so sorry for your grief and anger; I am here if you want to talk about this; can we pray right now that God will help ease some of this pain you are experiencing? These precious, aching souls will cross our paths, and it’s important to offer a comforting word, hug, or prayer.

What’s inside of you? Are you in pain? Does life just get overwhelming sometimes until you can no longer hide and the words spoken into your pain blow your facade apart? Do you have a friend you can call right this moment and let them help you through whatever is hurting you? Call them. I am praying for you at this moment.